Author: Bethany Keats
It used to be that travelling overseas was saved for the honeymoon. Nowadays, brides and grooms are packing their bags for the wedding itself and Australia is a popular destination, especially for Chinese couples.
Overseas weddings are becoming more and more popular for Chinese couples seeking a wedding celebration which is unique to them, according to Melbourne-based Wedding planner Lily Ge.
And there’s two main reasons why – size (an overseas wedding is usually much smaller and less expensive than a large celebration at home); and scenery.
“Australia’s amazing natural sceneries, multi-cultural and friendly environment are the key factors that attracts Chinese couples,” Lily says. “Whether it is a beach wedding, or a church wedding, or a winery wedding, the [variety of locations] Australia possesses will help the couple to realize their dream of the perfect unique wedding.”
An Australian wedding doesn’t mean you have to forgo tradition. Chinese bridal gowns and double happiness decorations can be found along with venues that offer tea ceremonies for local and visiting couples who want to include traditional elements.
But it’s the Australian landscape and the way it is used in wedding photography that Lily says Chinese couples seek most. “Australian photographers’ fondness of and respect for the natural candid shooting style is completely different to the Chinese photography studio’s portrait like style, ” says Lily. “Photographers in Australia would much prefer couples to show their true selves.”
So where to go for the perfect ‘Australian’ wedding? We spoke to some photographers to find out their choice locations:
Central Australia, Northern Territory
“When [people] come to visit, they are blown away by just how much more the Red Centre is, and it’s the perfect destination for that once in a lifetime event that is your wedding day.”
Lisa says Central Australia is fast becoming a popular wedding destination for overseas visitors.
“Couples looking to elope or have a small wedding gathering also find this area particularly attractive for its laid back, relaxed feel and stunning natural surrounds,” she says.
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Victoria’s Great Ocean Road rugged landscape is becoming more and more popular for bridal photography.
“There is something magical about the delicate beauty of a bridal gown against a weathered ancient seascape that often draws a small crowd,” says Mark Cuthell from the 12 Apostles Visitor Information Centre. “The photographers and their subjects themselves are often photographed by the general public furthering the spread of images on social media.”
Particularly picturesque locations include Cape Otway Lightstation, the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge.
But be careful! The Great Ocean Road may be beautiful but it’s also dangerous. Make sure you are aware of ocean and tidal conditions and only shoot from prescribed pathways and lookout points.
South Australia’s wineries
South Australia is home to some of Australia’s most famous wine regions including the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
“The rolling hills, neatly laid grape fields, winding roads and the general captivating landscape provides not only an amazing setting for a fairy tale wedding, but also a backdrop for breathtaking wedding photos,” says Duncan Udawatta from DreamTeamImaging.
Duncan recommends early summer as the ideal time for photos, describing the landscape as a “kaleidoscope of colour.
” However he says every season offers different opportunities as the colours vary from season to season.
Cable Beach, Western Australia
For a relaxed, Australian feel, why not have a barefoot wedding on Broome’s Cable Beach?
On Western Australia’s northern coast, Cable Beach is famous for its stunning sunsets that light up the sand and add a beautiful, warm glow to photos.
“Why wouldn’t you want to get married on iconic Cable Beach?” Asks Yarni Mclachlan from Broome Weddings.
“With its sparkling blue water and clean white sand. It’s a photo opportunity not to be missed,” She says. “Cable Beach is simply stunning at every angle of a photographers lens.”
Yarni advises that the best time for weddings on Cable Beach is from May until September.
Tasmania’s lavender fields
A must for fans of Bobby Bear!
The purple hills of Tasmania’s lavender fields make a beautiful background for wedding photos and the soft scent of the flowers will ensure you always associate that fragrance with your special day.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate, home of Bobby Bear, sees a lot of weddings during the summer months.
“We probably see one or two a day in late December and January,” says owner Robert Ravens. “They will spend hours in the fields looking for the perfect angles.”
Word is that Bridestowe is a sought-after spot for romantic wedding photos.
Whitsunday Islands, Queensland
For an island wedding with a bit of glamour, look no further than Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands.
One of Australia’s premier destinations for weddings and honeymoons, the Whitsundays is 74 tropical islands in the Coral Sea and offers accommodation ranging from eco-tourism to luxury resort.
Non-profit wedding planning website Weddings Whitsundays calls the region “the wedding heart of Australia.
“Its sheltered turquoise waters, pristine beaches, lush forests and breathtaking beauty make the Whitsundays the perfect location to exchange your wedding vows,” they say.
Sydney Harbour, New South Wales
It’s hard to go past Sydney for iconic Australian landmarks and scenes.
Marriage celebrant Jacqueline Yen says that as Sydney is a popular choice for overseas students completing their tertiary education, many choose to return for their weddings.
“Sydney is often considered as a first choice when planning an overseas wedding or honeymoon, due to the personal connection and history these people have with this city,” she says.
Home to a large multicultural community, visiting couples will no doubt find wedding services that can fit their cultural needs.
Want to include a traditional tea ceremony into your wedding? No problem!
If you are interested in getting married in Australia, Lily Ge advises you to prepare early, including applying for visas and submitting a Notice of Intended Marriage Form. She also recommends couples speak with an experienced friend or wedding planner, especially if they have a language barrier or lack resources.
The Australian government offers a website outlining the legal requirements for getting married in Australia.
Originally published as Saying “I do” Down Under | Australia Plus